Walking UP the Down Hill

As you get older, as your shape changes a little, a few pounds creep on, your joints groan more than they used to and you can’t remember where you left your car, it’s easy to believe IT’S ALL DOWN HILL FROM HERE!!

If you’ve bought into your negative self-talk (and Hollywood-speak), you best be gettin’ over that! It’s simply not true.

As someone who has studied various aspects of health and, particularly as an ex fitness instructor, I can tell you that about 70% of the decline we see in ourselves is due to lifestyle choices. We eat and drink to excess, we don’t exercise, we live stressed-out lives.

These are the main contributors of those shape-weight-joints-memory issues–NOT your age. The proof is evident when you choose to make major life changes. Even more evident, when you’re given a do-or-die scenario, like when the doctor tells you you’re going to die if you don’t lose 50 lbs–and somehow you find the motivation to push away from the table sooner! You CAN change–if you’re properly motivated!

In fact, the latest brain research indicates that we can pretty much change every cell in our bodies. Read Dr. Norman Doidge’s books (The Brain That Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing), and you’ll be astonished to learned just how changeable we humans truly are.

I was reminded of this recently by a change that happened to me that I just didn’t think was possible “at my age”.

I’ve sung all my life. I had lessons as a kid and have managed to keep singing in one form or another in the decades since.

I noticed, however, that the older I got, the shorter my vocal range became and the more cracks I heard in my voice. I decided to take lessons again.

About three years ago, I began taking instruction from a brilliant 20-something woman named Elyssa Mahoney. Although Elyssa now sings blues, jazz and rock, she was classically trained at a very young age. She has been passing on her wealth of knowledge to me.

One of the areas I’ve struggled with during our time together is working through my Passaggio–that’s the fancy term that describes the transition area among voices (you have a chest voice, a middle voice, and a head voice). To sing well, it’s important to be able move through these transition areas smoothly.

I have worked and worked on this, in the back of my mind wondering if it was even possible “at my age”. Expanding my range, well, that was expecting too much. Still, I kept training. What was the worst that could happen (besides the occasional Tracy melt down in frustration!)?

Even though I NEVER had proper training to work on my Passaggio, I have FINALLY made progress! I felt some minor changes a few months back, but I’ve seen BIG change in the last couple of weeks AND my range is expanding ever-so-slowly!

At the age of 53, I find it not only rewarding, but exciting that I can make change–even in areas that are brand new to me and traditionally thought of as “well, once it’s gone, it’s gone”!!

It reminds me, and I am reminding you now, that it doesn’t matter when you decide to change, it only matters that you decide. Then give it your best effort!

Please don’t use the old age excuse–or any other. You are NOT too old/young, fat/skinny, male/female, gay/straight, whatever/whatever!

You just have to decide.

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